An artist’s duty is rather to stay open-minded and in a state where he can receive information and inspiration. You always have to be ready for that little artistic epiphany. –Nick Cave
Revelation is a kind of epiphany, a sudden clarity, a flash, a fact or a truth suddenly made known to us. Revelation is thus always a gift or a grace, though we may not always see it as such. When something that was previously hidden or unknown to us is revealed, it can be dramatic and life-changing, or small and subtle. Revelation always makes a demand, a challenge we can either embrace or walk away from. Either way, it leaves a trace on us.
As we look over the events, the dreams and insights that have informed our personal mythology we may notice a handful of moments that can be called revelatory – these are the episodes where our perspective is suddenly expanded, our sense of self is abruptly strengthened or our creative self is inspired. Revelation has all the characteristics of a mutation, if we allow ourselves to be altered by its happening.
While our personal myths usually evolve gradually, a revelation can shift something fundamental in your life in a more abrupt manner. Revelation can feel spiritual and uplifting, even euphoric. It can also feel like a blow, a trauma, or a turn for the worse.
Minor things can become moments of great revelation when encountered for the first time. – Margot Fonteyn
Sometimes, poetry is all about the small revelations, little things. We spend so much of our time in a kind of drowsy indifference, or stress and busyness – but then out of nowhere, something startling in movement, action or thought strikes us, wakes us up, illuminates our perception. The golden angle of the first morning’s shaft through the trees, the sensitive bend of a river, the simple fact of a dog’s grace in an open field that suddenly speaks to you and demands notice.
We are all moved by single moments. Poetry is itself a revelation both to the poet who puts an interior, personal observation into words, and to the reader who is struck by the words into a sure feeling that this observation is intimately their own.
* Has a poem ever changed your life? If so, revisit it and write a poem in response.
* Revelation need not be spiritual in nature – have you ever been profoundly moved by a scientific fact?
* Have you ever had a revelation that came about through suffering, whether your own or someone else’s?
* Write a poem about the moment in which you realized something about a parent – that they were human, fallible, wonderful or awful.
* As a poet, how do you cultivate an attitude of openness?
* Describe a moment that felt like a thunderbolt.
* Describe a revelation that came upon you gently.
* Describe the aftermath of a powerful revelation – did it leave something of itself? Did you feel empowered or abandoned after it passed?
* Write a poem about the moment in which you realized you were not going to live forever.